Saturday, November 26, 2011

Art Scammers Listed Online

We artists paint and need to sell our work. The selling of my work is usually left up to my galleries and I'm not in possession of much since I send it out to galleries.   I pay galleries (or should I say they require?) 50% commission to sell and promote my work. 
 I am grateful for their representation. 

My website is not to sell work, it's for people to see the kind of work that I do and for them to know something about me in case they saw my work, Googled my name, or wanted to see other paintings or read my bio. 

And yes, sometimes I gladly enter into contracts with those who want me to do a private commissioned painting. These are often regional clients who have seen my work in ads or magazines in the South. I enjoy doing these commissions. And I have sold work to my longstanding Facebook friends from all over the world. However, for someone to just "stumble upon" my work online -and buy it is not realistic in my opinion.
Someone (now a sweet friend) with southern roots once called me from Jackson Hole Wyoming to commission me to do a painting.  Since she also had a vacation home nearby, I suggested that I include the painting in a show I was having  near one of her homes and invited her to come to that show to look at the painting before purchasing it. That way,  if she didn't want it- no pressure- someone else would probably want it. Also she could see my other works. She loved it though- and bought it, and so I gave the gallery it's commission. 

A REAL collector!

I say this to let you know that I'm as honest  as I can be, and will bend over backwards to make buyers happy with a purchase. I try to be fair to collectors, galleries and everyone involved.  I want 100% happiness all the way around. 

But these days I'm getting wary due to so many scammers who contact me. So unless I know them I will check out those who email me because I receive so many emails in broken English with stories of how someone really really loves and wants my work, etc ...and more often than not its just a scam. 

I've never been "taken" but have heard from some who have lost their work. One artist's bank actually took a check and then two weeks after mailing the painting, was told that the check was no good!

My latest was the most authentic sounding email I've ever gotten because it didn't have the usual convoluted story about how he and his wife were moving and needed it in a hurry. etc, etc,.... and it was from the UK - a country which I've never had any scam attempts before. Here are the actual emails:

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, November 26, 2011 9:54 AM
Subject: Fall Lake Oil on Linen 11 x 14

Hello there,
My name is Rupert. Was going through your works and love this piece. am really interested I would like to make the purchase if it is still available.

Thanks and i await your response.


----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, November 26, 2011 1:50 PM
Subject: Re: Fall Lake Oil on Linen 11 x 14

Hi Rupert,
This painting is available, and in my gallery- Southern Breeze Gallery. You can see it here at http://www.southernbreeze.net/tour156.htm
I see that it is listed as a 9x12 ...and priced accordingly.... but if my memory serves me right it was actually an 11x14. They will check and let you know if you contact them through the gallery.
Thank you for your interest in my work and let me know if I can help you with anything.

From this you can see the problem and time it takes with each of these scams. After writing him, I decided to search for a "data bank" to check out scammers and Googled this name & email:

 Rupert Smallwood and his Email: rupertsmall@yahoo.co.uk 

I found out there was such a site online.  Artquest has a list with probable art scammers and my old buddy Rupert was among them! I'm not surprised, just wish I'd checked before involving my gallery. I have no idea how accurate this site is and do not know whether this person is actually a scammer, but I'm not risking my artwork to find out......So now I am backtracking and sent my gallery the following email.

 Hi -
 Sorry- just checked and found that this is probably a SCAM. Do not respond to this email.  Googled his email address right after I wrote him that you had the painting, and got a long list of suspected art scammers. His email and name matched exactly. You may want to save this link:

Just wanted you artists who read my blog know about this list on Artquest's site !

But it's all good. I escaped unscathed and hope that you do so as well. Keep the brushes flying and I wish you many sales. 
Collectors let me encourage you to buy original authentic work. Original representational works have soul and it means something! I am writing next about "Chinese art factories" where so called "original" art is produced in assembly lines. So during the upcoming holidays BUY AMERICAN- or if you are not American- buy LOCAL!

Update: This added to the blog after it was posted originally:
His latest email:

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, November 26, 2011 3:28 PM
Subject: Hello

How are you doing? Thanks for your prompt reply. Well, I'm quite satisfied but would also like to inquire about a minimum price...

Unfortunately, I'm on my way to France and few other countries on an official trip (I'm a marketing Executive) and wont be back for another couple of weeks, If you'd like to know, I'm relocating to the UK this month and I'm trying to gather some good furniture for my new abode. I'm buying yours piece amongst others, quickly! before someone else grabs it.:)
Glad if you could let me have me your phone no. so I give you a call.
Best Regards,

PS: In the mean time, you could forward me your full name and contact address so I can mail out the certified check to you ASAP.

So ah-ha! He IS moving!!! lol


  1. Thanks for this information, Dot! I bookmarked the site listing the scammers...

  2. Hi Teresa,
    Hope you have all REAL buyers and may they be many!

  3. Hi,
    Maybe this site is interesting for your blog? www.artapa.com
    Artapa is a free online art price database that anyone can contribute to. Their goal is to create one easy space online where art lovers and galleries can keep track of artworks, artists and prices. A sort "little black book", that isn't black or a book. Or little, to think of it. They are now several months online, and they're growing all the time.